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Academic gifting in the gig economy of entrepreneurial universities: The new contractualism and academic vulnerability

CHEF Tal by Jill Blackmore, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Australia.

2019.08.12 | Søren Smedegaard Bengtsen

Date Wed 11 Sep
Time 12:30 13:30
Location Danish School of Education (DPU), Campus Emdrup, room A302. Video-link to CUDiM, Campus Aarhus, building 1483, room 656.

Universities globally are being reconfigured due to pressures of massification, commercialisation, internationalisation, digitalisation and accountability. The organisational response in Australia, UK, NZ, USA and Europe has, to varying degrees, been that of increased managerialism and marketisation and a focus on research reputation in the context of reduced funding and increased global competition. Everyday teaching and research rely on academics gifting their expertise to colleagues, students, government, publishers, industry and community partners and the public. But the nature and purpose of the university is changing as is academic work in terms of its scope, scale and intensity. In the context of increased precarity /casualisation of academic work in what could be described as a gig economy, market practices permeate everyday processes of the university with pseudo-contractual relations between the university /academics/ students and the outsourcing of labour and services.  In this context, the performative environment of universities has shifted from one which recognises the voluntary gifting of expertise to one that devalues and refuses to recognise academic gifting in terms of commitment and unpaid over-time so critical to institutional survival. Such a refusal has long term health and wellbeing effects on, as well as for the regeneration of, the academic workforce.


About the author

Professor Jill Blackmore AM is Alfred Deakin Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, founding Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation (2010-15) and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. Her research interests include, from a feminist perspective, globalisation, education policy and governance; international and intercultural education; educational restructuring, leadership and organisational change; spatial redesign and innovative pedagogies; teachers' and academics’ work, all with a focus on equity. Current research in schools is on international students and school autonomy. Recent higher education research has focused on disengagement with and lack of diversity in leadership, international education and graduate employability and on the re/constitution of the social relations of gender in and through education in the early 21st C.